Lipoprotein subclasses vary in CAD risk potential, but their distribution and correlates are not well documented in black and white young adults. A subsample of 449 (32%) young adults (67% white, 58% female) aged 20-37 years examined in the Bogalusa Heart Study had lipoprotein subclasses measured in terms of cholesterol by vertical spin density-gradient ultracentrifugation. LDL subclass pattern was characterized as either predominantly LDL1(large, buoyant), LDL2(intermediate) or LDL3(small, dense). Whites had significantly higher levels of VLDL, VLDL3, and LDL and lower levels of HDL2and HDL3than blacks. White females had significantly higher levels of HDL2than white males. Visceral fatness, measured as waist circumference, and race were the major contributors to the explained variance (6-22%) of these lipoproteins, with adverse trends seen among whites and persons with large waist circumferences. Sex (males > females), waist circumference (positive), HDL2(negative), and HDL3(positive) were the predictor variables for the likelihood of having the LDL3pattern. When glucose and insulin were included in the multivariate analysis, insulin (positive), sex (males > females), HDL2(negative) and HDL3(positive) became significant predictors of LDL3pattern. Positive parental history of CAD was associated with LDL (P = 0.009) in white males, and HDL2(P = 0.008) and LDL3subclass pattern (P = 0.038) in white females; whereas none in blacks. The observed correlates of lipoprotein subclasses and patterns need to be considered in estimating CAD risk in young adults. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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